Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bella Update

So, the vet called on Monday to tell me the results of the lab testing done on the knot they removed from her leg last week. Results: not cancer or anything remotely scary! HOORAY! Jeff and I were so happy that our furry child is safe and healthy. Turns out the lump was caused by an inflamed tactile hair, which is essentially an infected ingrown whisker hair. Who knew cats also had whiskers on the underside of their front legs?! I sure didn't, until Monday that is. Anyway, one of them somehow got infected, and I guess it was bothering her enough that she chewed the hair off around it. Now that the whole lump has been removed, she should be good to go. She is definitely looking forward to having her stitches removed on Saturday so she can take the horrible cone off her head! Even though she has been such a good girl and adjusted to it so well, we will ALL be very happy when she is completely back to normal!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bella's Boo-Boo

A couple days after arriving home from Hawaii, my mom brought Bella back since she'd been keeping her for us. Bella really loves the rug in our living room, so as soon as she got home, she flopped down on it and rolled over onto her back. I noticed something on her right front leg; it looked like a small wart or growth. She had chewed all the hair off around it, so I knew it had to be bothering her. My mom was surprised that she hadn't seen it, but she couldn't remember Bella really turning over on her back very often at my parents' house (and that is the ONLY way you could possibly see it).

So, I scheduled a vet appointment for the next day, just to be on the safe side. Let me just point out that Bella HATES going to the vet's office. As soon as we walk in the door, she turns into this hissing, growling gremlin-creature. After trying to calm her down, the vet finally had to roll her up in a towel, burrito-style, so she could get a good look at the lump. The vet wanted to do a biopsy, so she took a small tissue sample with a hollow needle. I felt so bad for Bella because she had no idea why she was being held down and stabbed with sharp objects! The vet went out and looked at the sample under the microscope, then came back and told me that she didn't like the look of some of the cells and wanted to do a full removal. So I am barely holding it together at this point - I hate to think that something might be wrong with her and that it could have been growing there unknown for months. I scheduled the next available surgery, which was on Wednesday.

All day Wednesday I was terrified that I would get a call saying something had gone wrong and she didn't make it through. (As Jeff can tell you, I often adopt a worst-case scenario mind-set)! Luckily I got a call that afternoon saying she had done great and could be taken home after 4:00. At 4:00 on the dot, I was there waiting to take my baby home. She looked so pitiful with her shaved and stitched leg! Worst of all, she has to wear an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) for the 10-14 days it will take the incision to heal! I know it is for her own good becuase otherwise she would chew her stitches, but she is so incredibly miserable! She is depressed and never "talks" to us like she used to. She mopes around and sleeps all day, barely eating unless I force her. I know it is only temporary until she heals, but it is killing me to see her like that.
The picture above is of my sweet kitty in her "sick box" that I made for her. She loves to hide inside boxes and under blankets, but she can't fit right now because of the e-collar. So, I made her this box with some soft blankets so she can feel safe.

Next week we will get the lab results telling us what the lump was. I hope and pray it isn't cancer and that it is now gone for goood. Please send Bella nice, healing thoughts for the next week or two!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Holiday Recap

OK, I know I have been terrible about keeping this updated! Here's a recap of our winter holidays. I know it's long, but there's some funny stuff in there - true to form, we had several minor crises. That's what the holidays are for, right?!

A couple months ago, our friend Mike asked us to go with him to Hawaii in December-January. His parents have a timeshare condo on the north shore of Kauai as well as a house on the island. So basically we were offered a great place to stay for next to nothing! Since Jeff's brother and sister-in-law now live on Oahu and just had their first baby, we figured we had more than enough excuses to go. So on the weekend before Christmas, we went to Tyler for Christmas with my family. It was a small affair with my parents, grandparents, aunt and cousin. We had a white elephant gift exchange and a yummy Mexican dinner. Jeff and I were excited to get Slankets from my mom! If you've never heard of the slanket, you are seriously missing out! It's a cuddly oversized fleece blanket with sleeves, yes SLEEVES! You can bundle up without losing the use of your arms. Now I can read a book or type on my laptop while staying warm - in fact, I am wearing my slanket right now! After our Tyler Christmas weekend, we said goodbye to my family and Bella (thankfully my parents are willing cat-sitters) and headed home to pack. If Bella had known what was in store for her when she got back to Dallas, she would have certainly chosen to stay with my parents. More on that later though in a special post about Bella.

Two days before Christmas, we flew out to Oahu. Jeff's brother Mike picked us up at the airport and took us back to their cute bayside condo. Jeff's parents were also on the island to visit Mike and Amy, so we stayed at a hotel on the Marine base to avoid overcrowding the condo. We got to meet our new nephew, John Robert Prudhomme, and he is adorable! I even held him SEVERAL times, which is a huge accomplishment for me since I am terrified of infants and their fragility. We had a great time on Oahu for the most part (notice I say "for the most part" - this is crucial later in the blog). We even got to work out with Barack and Michelle Obama. No lie! They were vacationing nearby, and the Marine base gym was where the presidential family went to work out. Since we were staying on base, it is also where WE went to work out! On Christmas Eve morning, we were greeted by the Secret Service at the gym entrance. They ran their wands over us to make sure we weren't toting any weapons. Once inside, we saw Barack on the cardio machines. Michelle stuck to weights. We didn't approach them because we figured they would probably prefer to work out in peace. That sentiment wasn't shared by the majority of the gym-goers though; the poor man had to spend his entire time on the stationary cycle shaking hands and meeting people! Anyway, it is kinda cool to say that I've worked out with two presidents (Old George used to come to the A&M campus gym all the time).

Here's Jeff and I on Christmas Day at the beach on base.

On Christmas Eve, Mike (brother-in-law) and Les (father-in-law) cooked an amazing traditional Hawaiian pupu platter. We liked it so much we decided we might have to keep the tradition of the Hawaiian Pupu Christmas alive even after Mike and Amy leave Oahu! Unfortunately, we rounded out our trip to Oahu on a dismal note. The day before our departure, we decided to drive around the island to check out the scenery and give Amy some peace at home with the baby. Too bad it was raining, so we didn't get to wander around on any of the beaches we planned to see. Instead we pretty much drove by all our landmarks, looking out the window and saying "man the weather sucks, let's stay in the car." By the end of the day we were all a bit on the nutty side - probably because we squeezed 5 people into an OLD Pathfinder! It was comical only because it sucked so much! But at least we all laughed about how miserable we were. Then our day got even more ridiculous, as if that was even possible. On our way out of the cluster of madness known as Honolulu and Waikiki, all the lights went out in the city. I am talking instant, complete blackness. Great, a power outage. We soon found out it was an island-wide outage. It lasted about 15 hours. Which was lovely since we were supposed to be flying out the next morning to Kauai. Naturally, we had washed a load of laundry before leaving the condo that morning. So the power outage left us with a full load of soaking wet laundry to somehow dry before a mid-morning flight. Classic! Luckily the power came back on around 5:30 a.m. We called the airline to make sure the flight was still a go, and they said it was only delayed 45 minutes. NICE! But of course it was not to be. After arriving in plenty of time for our 11:45 flight, we were told by the airline worker that the flight was already closed despite an even larger delay than we were informed of on the phone. Apparently they did "the count" way early even though the flight was now delayed until 1:15. It is still a mystery to us as to why they could not simply add 2 to their ever-important count when the flight was a good 2 hours from take-off. Oh well...needless to say, we didn't make that flight. We were booked on the next one, set to takeoff around 2:00. We camped ourselves in the cocktail lounge, ordered some hot dogs and drinks, and whipped out the laptop to watch There Will Be Blood. A 2-hour delay turned into 3, then 4....we ended up sitting in the airport for about 5 hours! Such fun! But, we did eventually get to Kauai, where we were greeted cheerfully by a barefoot Mike exuding the relaxed island vibe.

A beautiful Kauai sunset - we ate our shave ices and watched it sink into the ocean!

Our time in Kauai was so much fun (again, for the most part). Sadly, it was the rainiest of rainy seasons, so we got soaked pretty much every day. We did get about 3-4 nice sunny beach days though. We didn't let the rain slow us down too much. We still hiked, snorkeled, body surfed and kayaked - all the activities we were hoping to squeeze in anyway. Since it was rainy season, the surf was a lot stronger than usual. So, the visibility for snorkeling wasn't great, but we still saw some super cool fishies and it was fine. Our hikes were significantly affected by the stormy weather, though. We still hiked several great trails, or what would have been great trails if they weren't inundated with slippery boulders and ankle-deep mud. It was an experience to say the least! Mike is an adventurer, so he naturally picked the hikes with higher difficulty ratings. We slipped and slithered in and around bamboo jungles, rushing whitewater rivers, tall mossy volcanic rock, and staining red mud. Fortunately Jeff and I both love trekking through hard terrain, so we made it through with relatively few injuries. My left knee/shin took a hit when my legs weren't quite long enough to bridge the gap between a couple of steep rocks, but it there was only minimal blood and bruising! We were rewarded with some beautiful waterfalls at the end of a couple of our hikes. My favorite was the 300-foot waterfall at the 4-mile marker on the Kalalau trail. We walked right up to it and were surrounded by the sound of crashing water. Of course we decided we needed to swim to the middle to take a picture under the falls. So Jeff and I, along with Mike and his friend Assad took the plunge. Assad's girlfriend Erin wisely decided to stay on shore and take our photo. It was the coldest water I have EVER felt and hopefully will ever feel. I have to imagine it is what the Polar Bear Club experiences on their Arctic swims. It literally knocked the breath out of me the instant I hit the water. I had to gasp to try to breathe, and Jeff asked me if I was going to drown! It was so much fun though, and now we can say we swam under a 300-foot waterfall.

Here we are after our 4-mile hike to the waterfall - muddy and tired!

Half our time in Kauai was spent in the timeshare condo, and the other half we spent in Mike's parents' beautiful home. The Moraths were very hospitable, and we felt like we got 5-star resort service (including chocolates left on our pillows by the lovely Toni)! Jeff and I also found out that we rock at Pictionary! No matter what kind of crappy drawing one of us comes up with, the other can always guess what it is fasther than anyone else! I guess it is some kind of freakis husband-wife brain waves. At the condo, we watched whales swim by right past the cliff outside our window! We spent New Year's Eve cooking out on the cliffside BBQ grill and letting the boys recover from their deep sea fishing nightmare. Let's just say the fishing trip did not produce the desired result. Jeff says it was the worst day of his life!! Essentially he paid $125 to puke for 4 hours. Their trip was unfortunately on the morning after a hellacious storm that produced 15-foot swells, repeatedly swamping the 24-foot boat. Jeff likened it to the movie The Perfect Storm, the only difference being that they didn't die (though wished they had)!

So there you have it - our 2008/09 holiday recap. We had tons of fun (and only a little misery), so all in all we deem it a success!

The breathtaking Waimea Canyon, the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific"